Caribbean dreams include Cuba right? Ernest Hemingway and many other notable figures made it their temporary home or go-to vacation spot in the '60s and since the US embargo was lifted last year there hasn't been any other place that everyone seems to be talking about than, Cuba.
Whether you you want to go to see beautiful architecture worn-in over time, dance salsa or drink mojitos unlike any other you've had, and experience life and culture on the Caribbean's largest island. Whatever your heart desires, Cuba has. And for a coffee lover like me, it was like heaven.
I went to Cuba for the first time last February. Cuba never really crosses my mind until a friend had mentioned that we include it in our birthday trip. We ended up arranging to go after we went to Mexico. From Cancun we flew in Havana. Six nights, two night in three different cities and I feel like I relive it all the time. The trip was such a vivid, lively and colorful experience.
After arriving we traveled by car to Trinidad which is on the Southern coast of Cuba. Trinidad is also a UNESCO Heritage Site. This town of colored houses, cobblestones and cowboys may have been my favorite. Then again, it's like comparing apples and oranges (or guavas and apple bananas in Cuba's case). On the 4+ hour we stopped first to get café at a roadside eatery. This cafecito was unbelievable! I've called myself a coffee snob, not the most flattering term but I take coffee very seriously. This maybe two ounce of coffee would change my relationship with coffee. Cuba's coffee is one of the top three reasons I have to return. I ended up drinking it all times of the day and somehow I never lost sleep like I normally would if I drank it late at night.
We arrived at our casa in Trinidad. A friend of mine had given me a detailed writeup of suggestions for Cuba while I was planning our trip so we had booked our casas ahead of time through email. She didn't go to Trinidad but anyone else I've suggested it to has been grateful that I did so. Trinidad is a more of a large town filled with pastel colored buildings and cobblestone streets. Every now and then you'll see horse or two and you'll wonder if you've gone back in time to a different century.
Our room in the casa wasn't too spacious but it was enough for the three of us. Seeing as how we mostly needed it to sleep and change it was more than sufficient. We put our bags down and we joined our hostess for lunch. We had arranged for it prior to our arrival in Trinidad. There was an array of dishes, we had a salad of tomatoes and cucumbers, some cooked green beans, a savory soup, rice and pork. Of course coffee was offered to us. There was so much prepared for us and while a long trip in a car will build up an appetite, we could only stuff ourselves so much. After lunch we all took a nap. Even though it was short flight, the drive from Tulum to the Cancun airport had us leaving while it was still dark.
After our naps we decided to walk around and get a feel for the city (and Cuba). Our casa was centrally located and we soon found ourselves walking amongst locals and tourists. Trinidad is located on a hillside so you get great exercise by walking around. We found a churro vendor in the street and these churros were about a dollar and were warm, sugary and delicious. Sugar is definitely of higher quality when it's from the source.
We then found out that the place to be in Trinidad at night was 'Casa Musica' in the middle of the town square. Around dusk people start gathering at the outdoor area getting cervezas and mojitos. We were seated at a table and orders a round of mojitos. They were served in small plastic cups and were quite potent. A live band started playing music and people started to dance salsa. One of my friends was asked to dance and my other friend and I sat back and enjoyed our drinks and the scenery. In that moment I felt things couldn't be better. Balmy weather, friends and a new place.
After we were out for a couple hours, we needed to grab dinner and found out there was a 24 hour restaurant located nearby. I can't remember what we ordered other than beer because we were joined by two young gentleman who had followed us from Casa Musica. We ended up all drinking beers together while the three of us ate dinner. The restaurant was rustic with a few touches of metal weapons which gave it more of a melancholy vibe. The Cuban men walked us back to our casa after. We needed to get to sleep as we had a booked a horsehide for the following morning.
Interested in part 2? I'll have it up shortly!